My goal when taking care of my parents for the last decade of their lives was to give them one more good day. That meant many things, but mostly it was about keeping them safe, cared for and engaged, their lives full of interaction and stimulation.
It is hard for me to remember the last time I had a good day.
Sure, there are moments, like finding the weird red wieners marked down to .99 for a pound, and the satisfaction I get from writing well, but the days aren’t really good no matter how hard I struggle to find delight.
An old joke:
A woman is travelling on a plane that flies into a thunderstorm. They are being violently bounced around, the emergency lights are on, and people are terrified.
“No! I can’t die!” she wails. “I can’t die before a man has made me feel like a real woman!”
Her screams cut through the plane and a man stands up in front of her. He is beautiful, all tanned and rippling muscles, ripped right from the cover of a romance novel.
As he struggles down the aisle, holding on for dear life, he removes his shirt, his broad chest and olive skin glowing in the darkened plane.
The intensity in his eyes once he gets to her seat cuts right through her. Her heart beats faster and she knows as he reached out to her, she will finally feel like a real, full and complete woman.
With baited breath she looked up at him. In his extended hand is his crumpled shirt.
“Here,” he says to her in a deep voice. “Here. Wash my shirt.”
Crossdressers and Sissies who think that being a woman is about what you wear or about being humped miss the point that women live with every day. Being a woman is much more about who you take care of.
One of the hardest things after my parents died was simply grocery shopping. I saw things that they would enjoy, but there was no reason and no money to buy them. That feeling comes back a bit at the holidays. In 2011 I got my mother out of hospital on Christmas Eve after two weeks, and in 2012, they both had died within the last 8 weeks. Christmas 2013 is just a blank to me.
In my life, I may never have been seen as a woman in romance, never been seen as a woman in fashion, but I was very clear that I saw myself as a woman when taking care of my family.
Do I wish that I had been able to make a family of my own rather than being a spinster? Sure, but two of my mother’s best friends were spinsters, one still soldiering on, so I knew I wasn’t the only spinster in the world.
Like many chicks, I like a Christmas flick, especially one that includes a big dollop of magic that opens hearts and makes connections in the darkest of days. I am, it should surprise no one, in favour of rituals and stories which remind us of possibilities outside of the mundane and everyday.
Actually having moments which take me out of the mundane, everyday and wearing, though, having good days, seems to come hard nowadays.
Women want good partners, want someone to stand beside them and make the magic better, whatever that means. It may mean telling you when your skirt is caught in your tights, may mean helping to sell the joke, or may mean being there to help you get through the emotions in a tough moment. That camaraderie and connection really counts in having a good day, whoever it comes from.
I knew how to partner my parents, how to keep them safe and sunny side up, whatever that meant. Often that meant engaging them, arguing with them, keeping them energized and aware. That partnering helped may the day good for them.
It was the gift I gave them, day after day, messy and silly. They learned to trust me as a partner, trust that I would help them have another good day.
I know how to be a good partner, know how to help make the magic better.
That means, of course, I also know what I am missing.